fri 22/09/2017

sopranos

Prom 61 review: Fleming, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Oramo - heliotropic ecstasies

No sunshine without shadows was one possible theme rippling through this diva sandwich of a Prom. Even Richard Strauss's chaste nymph Daphne, achieving longed-for metamorphosis as a tree, finds darkness among the roots; and though Renée "The...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Aida Garifullina

There are certain roles where you’re lucky to catch one perfect incarnation in a lifetime. I thought I'd never see a soprano as Natasha in Prokofiev's War and Peace equal to Yelena Prokina, Valery Gergiev’s choice for Graham Vick’s 1991 production....

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Florence Foster Jenkins

The Florence Foster Jenkins industry reaches newly giddy heights with Stephen Frears's film of the same name, which cleverly casts a great talent - who else but Meryl Streep? - as the cheerfully self-deluded American soprano. The subject already of...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Elizabeth Watts

Not many people write conspicuously brilliant tweets, but Elizabeth Watts is someone who does. Working on the most demanding aria on her stunning new CD of operatic numbers and cantatas by the lesser-known of the two Scarlattis, father Alessandro...

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Pappano's Classical Voices, BBC Four

Antonio Pappano, artistic director and chief conductor of the Royal Opera House, is a polymath, for he is also a brilliant and persuasive narrator of the history of music. Here he embarked on a four part history of the operatic voice, starting at...

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10 Questions for Soprano Sandrine Piau

French soprano Sandrine Piau, born in 1965 in a south-western suburb of Paris, has an agile, supple voice. It soars, so critics reach readily for all those bird metaphors: nightingale, sparrow, "she leaves the earth on wings of song" and so on. She...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Kristine Opolais

The best that you can usually expect from an interview is that it takes off from stock beginnings in spontaneous and unexpected directions. This one was rather exciting from the start: the end of a day in the life of a new role, Puccini's good-time...

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10 Questions for Soprano Pretty Yende

Everyone who heard it must have been charmed by South African soprano Pretty Yende’s Radio 4 chat in which she recounted what hooked her on opera. It was a coup de foudre, watching a British Airways ad on telly at home in Piet Retief, and the sound...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Anne Schwanewilms

She is now the world’s leading interpreter of Richard Strauss’s Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, the aristocratic thirtysomething once forced into marriage with a far from ideal husband and determined not to let it happen to the sweet girl who...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Soprano Nicole Cabell

Last year a DVD appeared featuring the 15 winning performances from the start of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition up to 2011. I watched them all, skimming if any seemed a notch below par but staying with most. You could see the star...

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DVD: Becoming Traviata

Only the most antagonistic of diva fanciers, opera queens, call them what you will, would deny coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay her place as one of the great singing actresses of our time. The size and range of the voice are rather more limited for...

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Anne Schwanewilms, Charles Spencer, Wigmore Hall

Now that Margaret Price is no more and Kiri's well past her heyday, whose is the most limpid soprano of them all? "The beautiful voice" was a label slapped by PR on Renée Fleming, but that fitfully engaging diva is all curdled artifice alongside...

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